William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund Pledges $1,000,000 to Fund the Movement for Black Lives

Photo description: The words Black Lives Matter in yellow text over a black and white photo of people at a protest action.
Photo description: The words Black Lives Matter in yellow text over a black and white photo of people at a protest action.

Hamden, CONN. (February 10, 2021) - The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund is pleased to announce a grant totaling $1,000,000 to the Fund for the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). The grant represents a five-year commitment to supporting the work of M4BL, with $200,000 being disbursed each year. The M4BL is a coalition of more than 150 Black organizations across the country that come together to do the critical work of assessing what interventions are needed to achieve cultural and political wins that defend, lift up and liberate Black lives. The Memorial Fund has confidence in the M4BL’s policy platforms related to ending the war on Black people, reparations, investments that build the educational and economic success of the Black community, divestments from the forces that criminalize Black people, growing political power for Black people, and addressing the disparate impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The grant to the M4BL is a significant, multi-year investment in a national movement and is the first of its kind for the Memorial Fund. As a foundation located in one of the wealthiest, most segregated states in the country, the Memorial Fund recognizes and accepts its responsibility to be an active participant in dismantling white supremacy and ending anti-Black racism, so that its mission of achieving equity in education can become a reality.


David Addams, Executive Director:

 “The time is ripe to push for structural change which transforms key systems which have held back progress and liberation for marginalized communities. This requires placing trust and resources in the capable hands of Black leaders who are on the frontlines of change and have historically not received the resources to effect fundamental change. The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund is committed to deploying its resources to support social justice work and the pursuit of racial and economic equity for communities that are marginalized by our systems, especially Black communities.”


Funding inequity has always been present within the national field of philanthropy: only 7.4 percent of funding has been awarded historically to organizations led by all people of color, with the share from that 7.4 percent for Black organizations falling from 21.8 percent in 2005 to 17.5 percent in 2014. Less than one percent, 0.6 percent to be precise, of foundation giving was for all women of color in 2016. In Connecticut, grants made to support ethnic and racial minorities decreased almost 45% between 2015 and 2016. The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund made this grant of $1,000,000 with an understanding that the Fund may have been complicit, even if unknowingly, in this history of inadequate funding for the first twenty years of its existence. The foundation’s mission change in 2015 to address equity in education resulted in focusing the grantmaking portfolio explicitly on the needs of communities of color and communities living with poverty.


The Memorial Fund wants to make clear that funding and other forms of support for Connecticut-based work will not be decreased and will remain the primary focus of the foundation. Connecticut does not exist in a vacuum- what happens here is a reflection of our country’s cultural values and political practices. The Fund currently supports numerous grantees led by Black people and other people of color who are organizing their communities to fight for equity, justice and liberation in Connecticut. Supporting the national Movement for Black Lives also helps to support their work locally by ensuring that the growing equity ecosystem in Connecticut is part of a larger, sustained national shift toward centering equity and justice for the most impacted communities.


The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund encourages its peers in philanthropy in Connecticut and across the country to also contribute to the Fund for the Movement for Black Lives. Philanthropic organizations in Connecticut that are considering grants are welcome to contact the Memorial Fund to learn more.


For inquiries about this grant please contact:

R. David Addams, Executive Director

William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund

2319 Whitney Avenue, Suite 2B

Hamden, CT 06518

Telephone: 203-230-3330 ext. 11

Email: daddams@wcgmf.org


The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund (www.wcgmf.org) is located in Hamden, Connecticut. Its mission is to achieve equity in education by working with those impacted and inspiring all to end racism and poverty.